A panel about car seats at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH)
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center not only delivered 22,030 babies in 2014 – the largest number among hospitals in Israel – but it wants all of the newborns to reach home safely. The hospital, Yad Sarah, a nearby taxi company and others have arranged for the free loan of infant car seats to parents.
The project – officially launched Sunday at a ceremony attended by representatives of all the participating parties – was initiated by chief obstetrics nurse Tzippy Sivan and made possible by philanthropist Jackie Maltz, who set up a fund for purchasing 150 such safety seats. The Yad Sarah organization will help lend seats from the obstetrics department, while Hapisga Taxis has trained its drivers to refuse to take infants under the age of one unless they are in the protective seats. The drivers have also been trained how, with the parents’ permission, to buckle the infants into the borrowed equipment.
Yad Sarah trained nurses in the obstetrics department to ask parents if they have a safety seat and to provide each family with one for three months on the spot, without having to go to Yad Sarah’s lending station in the hospital.
The Beterem organization trained medical personnel to promote safe travel with the newborns.
SZMC director-general Prof.
Jonathan Halevy said that while hospitals are expected to treat the sick and injured, it was decided to go beyond that and prevent infants from being hurt in road accidents when going home from the hospital. The campaign slogan, translated from the Hebrew, is: “It’s Clear; My Baby is Buckled Up.”
Yad Sarah director-general Moshe Cohen said that he hopes all other hospitals with maternity and pediatric departments will follow suit and use the SZMC model for implementation themselves. His organization now has 1,000 such seats for loan to parents around the country. Cohen added that there is a law forbidding newborns from being driven home without being put into a safety seat. In fact, the law requires that all children through the age of eight be buckled into safety seats, but the law is not enforced at all.
Representatives of Hapisga Taxis signed a declaration for Halevy, pledging its cars would not take infants as passengers without safety seats. Each of the taxis contains a sticker declaring this.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, some 3,000 children from birth to 14 are hurt each year as passengers in vehicles. Some of them suffer hyperthermia and die when left alone in vehicles by parents or caregivers. The Health Ministry has not managed to take action to prevent this, despite the high cost of treating child survivors of such negligence.
Halevy added, following a question by The Jerusalem Post, that parents would also be reminded never to leave their young children alone – even for a moment – in vehicles to prevent summer tragedies of youngsters dying in hot cars.